4 Tips to Help You Return to Work After the Pandemic

***Updated on 20 April, 2021

Making the most of hybrid work arrangements

Hybrid work arrangements (where you work part of the week at home and part of the week in the office) can give employees the best of both worlds. Survey data shows that it’s the preferred way of working for Australian employees. Employees felt that a hybrid model would positively impact their productivity.

Many organisations are thinking about how to make the office an enticing place. However, for those working full-time from home, going back to the office when they return to work after the pandemic means adapting to new routines and ways of working. The offices we return to will look and feel different from the ones we left in 2020.

Last week we discussed how to manage hybrid teams in 2021. This week we share our top tips for those who will return to work in an office environment, from an employee perspective.

1. Minimise interruptions

Those of us who have gotten used to working from home and returning to the office could mean more unwanted interruptions. Interruptions are a big productivity killer. In fact, 41% of participants from our Personal Efficiency Program tell us that interruptions take up over 2 hours of their time each day.

One of the best ways on how to be more productive and manage interruptions is to block out time in your calendar for focused work. During this time, turn off notifications on all your devices and close your email.

how to increase productivity

If you have hybrid work arrangements, try scheduling focused work for when you’re at home. Use your time in the office for collaborative work. Agree on a designated team day and schedule team meetings for when everyone is in the office. This will maximise social interactions and connections, something we’ve all missed while working remotely.

2. Training and support

As you adapt to new ways of working, consider what training or support might be needed. For example, you might need to learn how to use new digital communication tools to work with distributed and hybrid teams more effectively. Along with digital skills, some of the top skills to develop, thrive, and increase productivity in 2021 are interpersonal and leadership skills.

Take responsibility for your personal and professional development, and ask your manager for support if needed. Be open to learning opportunities as part of your workday. If you have recently joined a company, sit in on meetings with your managers and learn how they manage stakeholders. Learn from your colleagues and ask them about cultural norms. Take advantage of face-to-face time in the office and meet up with formal or informal mentors.

As organisations focus more on outputs than inputs, you need to know how to manage your time and concentrate on the most important tasks. Productivity training can be an excellent investment, regardless of working location. That being said, our Personal Efficiency Program can help you perform at your best, at home and in the office. Be sure to read our post about the benefits of Personal Efficiency Programs after this.

3. Set clear expectations

Both employers and employees see the benefits of distributed and hybrid work, but it’s essential to agree on expectations. As you return to work, talk to your manager and agree on expectations. Ask if your company has a return to office plan, and what employees are expected to do.

Can you work flexibly? What will be your workdays or hours? What working arrangements will help you maximise your output and fit in family responsibilities? How will your performance be measured? How should you communicate with your team?

Set up regular reviews with your manager and discuss what’s working well versus not working well. Raise issues as they arise, and make suggestions for improvements.

4. Make the most of the commute

Some of us love skipping the daily commute, but others have missed the commute as a natural buffer between work and home life. Returning to the office means a return of the commute, which can be a great opportunity to do something mindful.

Try using the commute as a break and disconnect from work. If possible, take a walk and connect with nature. Turn off your devices and focus on your breathing for 30 or 60 seconds. Pay attention to your breath and consciously take deeper breaths.

return to work

If you catch public transport to work, try short meditations or read a book. Listening to podcasts can also be a great way to unwind. There are also some great apps, like Portal, that can help you disconnect. Mindful breaks are great for your productivity helping you restore motivation and stay focused. This is why you need to ensure that you’ll have better breaks when working from home.

As we start to return to work in an office environment, we have to prepare ourselves to thrive. Investing in your own skills pays dividends. Learn how our tailored programs can help you maximise productivity, regardless of your working location. Who doesn’t want more time for the important stuff in life?

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